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For Elementary Readers

We Are Water Protectors

A young girl learns from her Nokomis (grandmother) about protecting our shared planet and invites all to become stewards of Earth.

Apply in the Classroom

Use reading to explore ways to live responsibly and as a way for kids to learn about and get close to nature. Head outside with We Are Water Protectors and other titles and get a conversation going with kids about ways they can help care for the Earth. Start by giving students time to observe the environment around them. What do they notice about the natural world? Talk about efforts they can make to observe and take action, like picking up trash in your school yard.

Ask students to start keeping a journal of what they take notice of outside—the growth of plants and trees, the antics of a squirrel, the sounds of a stream—and how those things connect. As awareness of nature builds, encourage students to share observations and open up discussion about investigating what the Earth needs in your community and environmental issues your students are passionate about.

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

What do you use water for? Why does water need protecting?

How does oil or chemicals get into our rivers and waterways? Why is it harmful?

What does the “black snake” represent? What is an oil pipeline? Where are pipelines located?

Why were the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline? Would you ever join a protest like the one on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation? Why or why not?

If a pipeline was planned to go through your community, what would you do?

Where does the water you drink come from? What can people do to make sure the water we use is safe?

How is everything on Earth related to everything else? Why is that important to understand?

Look at the illustrations in We Are Water Protectors. How are they realistic? What do they represent?

Related Teaching Resources

We Are Water Protectors Activity Guide from Roaring Brook Press

Science and sustainability lessons that incorporate Native American stories from Washington State LASER

River Rangers! A book-based science adventure from Reading Rockets

Basics of Nature Journaling from Project Learning Tree

More Titles to Try

The Water Walker by Joanne Robertson

A Cool Drink of Water by Barbara Kerley

I Know the River Loves Me/Yo sé que el río me ama by Maya Christina González

Rivers of Sunlight by Molly Bang

Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf by Olivia Bouler

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